Lately, it seems that I have been getting into pop-punk a lot more than I ever had before. Usually pop-punk is considered to be bands that have no real technical prowess, singing about failed relationships. Mostly true, but there are a few bands that bring originality to this overrated genre. A few of those are Senses Fail, Motion City Soundtrack, and then there is Armor for Sleep. Now with their debut album, Dream to Make Believe
they had some success and even went gold, but were revered as just another emo band. While that is obviously far from the truth, they still wanted to escape that genre tag. So they recruited producer Machine (he admittedly doesnít like their debut album) and went on to create a concept album about death, go figure. He produced the album rather well with the instrument all in the mix nicely. Unlike Dream to Make Believe
where only front man Ben Jorgensen wrote the songs, the whole band worked together to create What To Do When You Are Dead
. Iíve got to admit, it took me a while to become used to this album, but eventually I realized that this is actually a really good album.
I think that Ben Jorgensen was successful with putting the lyrics together as somewhat of a story about dying and what it is like. The story goes from drowning in a car to realizing that heaven isnít as great as it is supposed to be. Then that goes to being sad and wishing about being alive. The story loses its presence though during the middle of the album and doesnít really go anywhere. On the last song End of a Fraud
, the story ends on a sad note with the lyrics ďI saw pretty clear, that when I left you all stayed the same. Now I think I believe, that I was never alive in the first place. They never heard one sound out of my mouth. Donít believe that the weather is perfect the day that you die"
. That is where the story ends and the character leaves the planet Earth as a ghost and finally leaves to stay in heaven. I wish that they tried to take more of a happy outlook of death, especially since they said in the dvd they wrote this record with being considered an actual rock band instead of emo (thing is they never were any ways :-/). As for the actual vocals, Benís singing is rather superb. This album isnít too catchy, but his voice is perfect for this story that he is attempting to put across to the listener. The catchiest that the album will ever get is album opener and single Car Underwater
. The guitar workings on this album are entertaining, but still are the standard riff based power chords and sound the same pretty much for the whole album. The bass has a plenty of audible lines on the album, which is nice, but I would have liked to see some more technicality out that specific instrument. The drums are good and even though they are mixed low in the sound, they still have a good presence.
The biggest problem that I have with this is that many songs sound way to similar in structure, vocals, and just the sound overall, leading to quite a bit of repetitiveness. Some songs still stand out above others though. Stay on the Ground
is more or less a replica of the first four songs on the album, but the I really like the crunchy riffs the guitar delivers and the rough vocals that Ben does as well. Basement Ghost Singing
isnít a favorite of mine on here, but it is a standout because it is unlike most of the other songs. It has a darker, quieter feeling and has a nice beat from the beat box to go with it along with some nice single guitar note picking. Besides repetitiveness, my other complaint is that the music and vocals can be sometimes way to depressing. Iíd have liked more of an up-beat sound from the band, but this still makes for a great record. The best songs are the first five of the record and then the album closer The End of a Fraud
. If you like your pop-punk to have a darker edge to it then you would probably enjoy this. Overall this gets a 3.5 out of 5 from me. Thanks for reading the review; I hope you found it helpful.